UAE launches defence conglomerate

Harry Lye 5 November 2019 (Last Updated November 5th, 2019 16:31)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has today founded technology company EDGE to strengthen its footing in national security and defence.

UAE launches defence conglomerate
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (C), Faisal Al Bannai, Chief Executive and Managing Director of EDGE (R). Credits: EDGE.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has today founded technology company EDGE to strengthen its footing in national security and defence.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan inaugurated the company, which brings together more than 25 different Emirati entities, today.

A key focus of the move is to bolster the country’s defence against unconventional threats, focusing on defence against electronic attacks and drones.

EDGE includes subsidiaries of Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC), Emirates Advanced Investments Group (EAIG), Tawazun Holding, and other companies, employing around 12,000 people.  It will focus on five different ‘clusters’:  Platforms & Systems, Missiles & Weapons, Cyber Defence, Electronic Warfare and Intelligence, and Mission Support.

EDGE CEO and Managing Director Faisal Al Bannai said: “EDGE will invest extensively across R&D, working closely with front-line operators to design and deploy practical solutions that address real-world challenges.

“The solution to address hybrid warfare lies at the convergence of innovations from the commercial world and the military industry. Established with a core mandate to disrupt an antiquated military industry generally stifled by red tape, EDGE is set to bring products to market faster and at more cost-effective price points.”

The UAE hopes the company will increase its global presence in the defence sector while also cutting costs across the industry.

The chief executive officer of UAE defence enabler Tawazun Economic Council said: “We are invested in managing the uncertainty that technology brings by adapting our focus and capabilities towards a sustainable defence and security industry. EDGE will help us transform our domestic capabilities while growing our engagements on defence and security exports.”

Lockheed Martin’s Middle East head Bob Harward said: “Today’s announcement on EDGE is indicative of the growth and future of the aerospace and defence industry in the UAE.”

He added that the creation of the company would allow Lockheed Martin and the UAE to better explore their potential in the industry.

The UAE currently imports a large amount of its defensive equipment from Western countries including the US and the UK. The move to establish EDGE is seen as a step in reducing the country’s dependence on other countries.